Sunday, June 8, 2008

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Beijing, the capital city of the People's Republic of China, is located in the country's northeastern corner, in the transition zone between the Inner Mongolia Plateau and the North China Plain. It is a city that has undergone tremendous change and explosive urban growth, since the start of economic reforms in 1979.

The left-hand satellite image shows Beijing in 1978, just prior to the reforms. The light blue-gray area in the center of the image is the urban landscape of the city. The hills to the west are covered with deciduous forest, which appears green. The agricultural lands that lie around the city appear as muted red, orange, and golden yellow, depending on the crop (rice, winter wheat, or vegetables) and its stage of development. Beijing's explosive growth is very obvious in the 2000 image. The city has expanded from its original center in all directions. Prime agricultural lands that once lay outside the city are now suburbs dominated by institutional, industrial, and residential buildings. In 2000, Beijing's population was 13 million.
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